I’m always thinking I’m not saving enough.
Do I really need that once-a-month luxury cappuccino? That $6 could have gone into my retirement fund! What about the many giant boxes of pre-packaged granola bars from Costco that would have been cheaper to “make myself”? If I added it all up, buying all these granola bars are lengthening my path to financial independence by at least a few days. Did I really need that $150 living room lamp that I love? Do we use Netflix enough to justify the ever-rising cost? (p.s. I am now paying $17.63 Canadian Dollars a month…it was $13.99 when I started the subscription!)
Many purchases are a decision to make life a little easier or “better”. Lately I’ve been somewhat avoiding this thought. I’m just like, “oh yeah, we have money in the grocery budget for packaged snacks! We also have money in the home improvement budget for that lamp that we really need because our living room has no light!”
To be fair, I scoured Facebook Marketplace and Kijiji for about 2 months waiting for a lamp that would meet my requirements, but alas it never came (until shortly after I purchased the one I wanted at Home Depot, of course). So maybe that’s something. But there are many, many other examples of “not thinking about it too hard”. Especially during the big Panini of 2020/2021/2022 when I can’t spend mounds of cash on my favorite pastime, vacations.
In 2021, I fell short of my goal to save $14,000 in my retirement fund by $622. This is how much I need to save annually in order to become financially independent by age 55. It’s pretty close to plan, but here are my constant internal thoughts about it:
- If I can’t even reach this goal, how am I going to save more than this amount so I can become financially independent even sooner?
- How am I going to mentally handle the “hamster wheel” of the work grind for 10 more years?
- If I’m not loving my job, there is no way I’ll be able to get enough income in another job to sustain this level of savings!
- What can I cut from the budget to squeeze some more into my savings this year? Can I handle more complaints from my non-FI-caring family?
- Why can’t I just win the lotto?
What I SHOULD be thinking:
- How lucky am I to be able to save this much money! Most folks are living paycheque to paycheque.
- I am proud of myself for taking control of my finances 3+ years ago and changing my life for the better.
- I am valuable. If I want to change jobs, I will find something else and make it work.
- Being able to retire at 55 might be late for someone striving for financial independence / FIRE, but I also found this movement late. And that is okay. I cannot punish myself for the past. Many have to work until they can’t anymore.
- I am going to review the plan and take action to improve it, vs just “talking” about possible options for years on end.
Today, I resolve to start thinking about the second list and not the first.